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No. 8 Notre Dame is 8-point favorite in first road game vs Wake Forest

The No. 8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish are off to a 3-0 start to the season and they hit the road for the first time this year vs the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Wake Forest is 1-1 at home this season and is coming off a tight 41-34 loss to Boston College in Week 3. Notre Dame opens this week as an 8-point favorite and the two schools have averaged a combined score of 49.75 over their last four meetings and this week's total opened at 60 points.

Shark Bites
  • Notre Dame is 4-0 SU in its last four games vs Wake Forest (avg. winning margin: 19.25).
  • The total has gone UNDER in three of Notre Dame’s last four games vs Wake Forest (avg. combined score: 49.75).
  • Wake Forest is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games vs the Independent.

Notre Dame vs Wake Forest Game Center

Notre Dame winning, despite a woeful offense

Notre Dame opened the season with an impressive 24-17 victory over then-No. 14 Michigan and has followed up that performance with two more wins for a 3-0 record to start the season. However, the Fighting Irish are just 1-2 ATS through the first three weeks. They were underdogs vs Michigan and won to beat the spread, but they have been double-digit favorites in their last two and didn’t even come close to covering. Over those two games, they were favored by 34 and 13.5 points but only won by eight and five, respectively.

Notre Dame ranks in a tie with No. 25 BYU for 104th in the nation for points scored per game at just 23.3. This can be directly correlated to the performance of quarterback Brandon Wimbush. The New Jersey native ranks 60th in the nation in passing yards with 589 and has tossed just one touchdown while throwing four interceptions. Additionally, the Fighting Irish rank 63rd in yards allowed per game with 359, but sit 31st in the NCAA for points allowed per game with just 16.7. However, this may be the game for Wimbush to flex his muscles as Wake Forest surrenders 310 passing yards per game, which is 120th in the nation.

How will Wake Forest bounce back from its first loss of the season?

Wake Forest entered Week 3 with a 2-0 record for the third straight season but was stopped 41-34 in a barnburner vs Boston College last Thursday. The Demon Deacons stood toe to toe with the Eagles but Boston College quarterback Anthony Brown threw for 304 yards and five touchdowns in the game. Wake Forest, on the other hand, had a more balanced attack, gaining 214 yards through the air, while adding 298 rushing yards. Despite starting the season 2-1 SU and averaging 36 points per game, the Demon Deacons are 0-3 ATS.

Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman ranks 18th in the nation with 834 passing yards through the first three weeks, though he has six touchdowns to five interceptions. That appears to be the Demon Deacons’ way this season, taking two steps forward and one step back. They rank 50th in the NCAA with 36 points scored per game but are 77th in points allowed at 26 points per game. The biggest bright spot in Wake Forest’s attack is Cade Carney, the junior running back from North Carolina. Carney has 300 rushing yards on the season, good for 20th in the nation, and has picked up two touchdowns. He may be in trouble this week, though, as Notre Dame gives up just 107 rush yards per game, which is 26th in the NCAA.

Is the UNDER the bet to make?

Three of the last four meetings between Notre Dame and Wake Forest have had combined scores of 41 points or less and Bovada has tonight's total opening at 60 points. Although, last year’s meeting was pure offense as the two schools combined for 85 points. The lone meeting at Wake Forest in 2011 ended in a 24-17 victory for Notre Dame, a combined score of 41 points. Additionally, the Fighting Irish have gone UNDER in six of their last seven games overall, but five of those games were at home. Notre Dame has a strong defense, allowing just 16.7 points per game, but has a struggling offense that’s scoring just 23.3 points per game. Meanwhile, Wake Forest’s biggest attack comes from the ground, which is where Notre Dame is at its best. With a total set at 60 points, the UNDER seems like a lock.

My take on Notre Dame at Wake Forest

Although Notre Dame is just 1-2 ATS through the first three weeks, I think the Irish can cover the 8-point spread in Week 4. They have won all four games against the Demon Deacons since 2011, with an average winning margin of 19.25 points. The closest game between the two came in Wake Forest when Notre Dame won by just seven points, but that game was in 2011. Since then the Fighting Irish have won each game by double digits, including 48-37 last year. I think Wake Forest’s dreadful secondary will be what Brandon Wimbush needs to move the needle and score an impressive win.